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Before After Hardcover – October 14, 2014
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Crisply outlined digital images are tinted with muted pastels and splashed with warmer colors. Some are serious, others contain flashes of wit, and an air of scientific objectivity makes the humor even funnier. ... It’s a fascinating examination of the work that time does, and it offers new possibilities—and smiles —every time it’s read.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A humorous, intriguing, fascinating, insightful look at the concept of before and after, including the small (such as the acorn and oak) to the more complex (the building of a city). Ramstein’s artwork has a fine-lined, almost Chris Ware–like sophistication, and the result will be readers, young and old, paging through the book multiple times, both for aha moments as well as hidden depths.
The clean, subdued-palette digital illustrations make the connections crystal clear as identical objects are copied and recolored. ... Like many wordless books, this one is not meant to be shared in silence. The comments and conversations it provokes are at least half the fun.
—The Horn Book
This harmonious album of clean-lined, very simple images in before-and-after pairs or short sequences practically compels viewers to ruminate about changes and seasons. ... Younger children will enjoy the mild challenge of figuring out the connections between, for instance, a slingshot and a broken window, a homing pigeon and an airmail envelope, a woolly sheep and (several steps and a knitted winter hat later) wood smoke drifting from a chimney in the snow. Peaceful, sometimes mildly humorous art provides gentle nudging toward a philosophical frame of mind.
No words at all appear amid the stylish pictures and silent mirth of “Before After”... This chic volume invites children to make before-and-after connections between such things as a bean pod and a bar of chocolate, and a chicken and an egg.
—The Wall Street Journal
Here in careful, elegant matte illustrations, each one to a page, Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui invite children (and grown-ups) to see the before-and-after connections between such things as berries and a cup of tea, a rocking horse and a rocking chair, and, amusingly, an egg and a chicken, and a chicken and an egg.
—Wall Street Journal
This innovative picture book would be a great addition to the children’s section of a library or a classroom because of the critical thinking it can elicit.
—Library Media Connection (highly recommended)
A clever, wonderfully illustrated book.
This popular book of clean, elegant illustrations is simple enough for the youngest non-reader to follow (before: caterpillar, after: butterfly), but clever enough to engage older children as well (before: slingshot; after: broken window).
Beautifully precise drawings... With 176 pages to pore over, this top-notch work won't leave grown-ups feeling shortchanged like many other picture books do.
About the Author
Matthias Arégui studied illustration at the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg, France. He created the picture book ABC des Tracas with Anne-Margot Ramstein and is working on his first comic book. He lives in France.
Anne-Margot Ramstein studied art in Paris before joining the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. She created illustrations for ABC des Tracas with Matthias Arégui as well as the children’s book Les Illuminations D’Albert Einstein. She lives in France.
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The soft hues of the drawings that vary from those resembling primitive folk art to more highly detailed cityscapes and forest scenes make this book without words visually appealing. Understanding most of the "Before After" pairs is intuitive for adults, but little ones may have some difficulty understanding why a large monkey atop the Empire State Building is the after of that same animal in a jungle setting.
I like that "Before After" provides many different opportunities for discussing the relationship of the picture pairs with a child. The lack of words accompanying the pairs also provides ample opportunity for creative storytelling.
I liked that at least one of the pictures in the "Before After" pairs was something with which little ones may be familiar. Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui did an excellent job providing both a broad spectrum of categories and using variety in the types of pairs presented for comparison.
The one thing I did not care for was the size of the actual volume. Little ones require a book that is easy to hold and manipulate. They need a book that will lay flat when they open it to study the pairings. While the approximately 6 7/8" X 9 7/8" size of the book would have been ideal, the ¾" thickness of "Before After" does not allow the book to lay flat unless you crack the spine - something that should never be done.
If you are looking for a unique book for your child or grandchild, you will want to consider "Before After". It is a real treat!
From a slingshot with a pile of rocks to a broken window or a nest full of eggs to a nest full of baby birds, Before After allows the pre-reader to "read" a story with little to no help. After going through this book WITH your child and discussing the befores and afters, your child will very quickly want to take over the "reading" part.
Not only do my youngest, nonreading children enjoy Before After, I often find my older readers going through it and many adults have been drawn to the illustrations. I'm glad I took a chance on Before After and see myself gifting this one again and again.
Most recent customer reviews
Will be sure to get her sharp little mind exploring!Read more